Computer Science Programs in Northeast

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Computer Science Programs in Northeast
By Motobecaneman (Motobecaneman) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit

My daughter is interested in a Computer Science program at a college in the Northeast, preferably with less than 10000 students. We have looked at Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh, SUNY Binghamton, Ithaca & Syracuse. None of these schools seem to get much mention under Computer Science. Can anyone comment on these schools, or give preferences.

Also, my daughter is in the top 10% of her class, with many AP & Honor classes. SAT's are 550V, 710M. Any other school suggestions in the NE? Thanks.

By Alan5 (Alan5) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:18 pm: Edit

Look at WPI, Northeastern, Boston U, RPI, Tufts, and Brandeis.

By Taxguy (Taxguy) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:32 pm: Edit

Also consider Rochester Institute of Tech,

By Motobecaneman (Motobecaneman) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 07:59 pm: Edit

I was hoping my daughter would not go to a school with 70+% Males (RIT, RPI, WPI)! Also, doesn't Boston U only offer a BA in Computer Science?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 08:21 pm: Edit

I have a question for all would be computer science majors: do you feel that outsourcing of engineering jobs will limit your job possibilities? Has anyone at your HS or otherwise raised this issue with you? Where do you live?

By Motobecaneman (Motobecaneman) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 08:37 pm: Edit

Yes, outsourcing is a major issue. That is why it is more important than ever to attend a school with good reputation & links to industry. (eg. Lehigh?) There will always be some jobs in Comp Sci, I think!

Near Poughkeepsie, NY.

Dad is a Chemical Engineer wondering how much longer Semiconductor manufacturing will remain in USA.

By Over30 (Over30) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:05 pm: Edit

Son is going to MIT to study CS (any maybe some physics). He's wanted to study computers/programming since he was 10 and has no interest in changing his mind or his major. With his degree and computer skills I am confident that he'll be able to find a career that he enjoys.

By Alan5 (Alan5) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Northeastern has an amazing internship program with top companies like Microsoft, Sun, Dell, etc. Most students have jobs lined up well before graduation.

By Over30 (Over30) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:19 pm: Edit

I just reread my post and it sounded sort of stuffy. What I meant was that the outsourcing problem worries me a little, but he just doesn't care. He said the other day that maybe he'll invent something that will either keep him employed or let him retire early and not have to worry about outsourcing.
Computer skills will be useful in almost any field, so I think someone with a CS degree would be able to work in a lot of different areas.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:39 pm: Edit

Frankly, in general it's not the MIT calibre kid who needs to worry. There will be jobs for innovators, the "architects". Even these kids need to be aware, however, of market realities. The starting pay may not be what it used to be, etc. But the rank and file engineering jobs are dissapearing at an amazing rate and I'm wondering if people around the country understand this. 60 minutes repeated a story on outsourcing just tonight.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit


Honestly, I don't know what can be done. cs jobs are disappearing, ditto semi-conductor manufacturing. A lot of health-related jobs are also being outsourced. I've just read that anyone doing a Ph.D. in pure math has zero chance of getting a job unless someone dies or retires, that even applied mathematicians are needing to move into different directions (such as cs!). Meanwhile, liberal arts majors have a tough time lining up jobs.
The situation is bleak. Even if our kids were willing to listen to advice, it is not clear what advice we should be giving re: majors and careers. Did anyone predict the bust?
So what do we tell our kids?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 11:09 pm: Edit

A lot of people, value investors like my husband, did predict the dot com bust. It took a lot longer to happen than most thought, however. Outsourcing is a whole different thing though. There will be new big things in technology and other fields, but their implementation will not be happening here to a large extent. There is absolutely no stopping it despite political rhetoric. The ground has been layed for a long time--free trade, countries like India and China having well focused education programs....the only question is when India and China will become too expensive and companies will move to lesser developed countries. When I first started studying this I assumed it would soon become apparent what our kids should be studying instead. Ummmm, speech therapy to help the Indians and Chinese sound more American? Then I got deeper into the research and started reading about how this generation is not going to do as well as their parents. Outsourcing is hardly limited to engineers and programmers, we're talking jobs Harvard MBAs used to do on Wall Street. Tax preparers, radiologists, anything requiring quantitative skills. American companies will not survive global competition if they do not hire the cheapest labor to do everything possible. Venture Capitalists are not funding start ups of any kind that do not utilize the global workforce to the fullest. Yet the reaction is slow here. Scary. Our best and brightest will be OK if they are strategic and aware of the realities. Our average kids need to be even more strategic.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 11:21 pm: Edit


But that's the problem, isn't it? By the very nature of the thing, average kids are the norm, not the exception. And I still don't know how a bright or average students must to be strategic,let alone "more strategic." I am not taking issue with you, I just am in the dark as to how to translate this principle into concrete action.

I agree with you, by the way, that outsourcing is unstoppable. And competition from other countries will become stiffer.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Marite, it's tricky. The bottom line is that it was a blip in history when a fairly average kid could go through any engineering program and eventually become an $80K engineer. That kid will probably be a $40K professional now if he is open to moving wherever the jobs are as an in house bookeeper,accountant or mis professional. American companies will keep many of these people in the US, but will locate them where office space is cheap. Many of the kids with good math/science skills should be redirected to the life sciences, as the baby boomers age, as gene therapy and other sciences come of age, the will be many opportunities. And so on....

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 11:52 pm: Edit


I know various scientists who have become involved in the new life sciences having retooled from more traditional scientific fields. Biology has become more mathematical since the focus on genetic mapping. The problem is that we don't know how soon the field will become mature and many of the jobs currently done here will be able to be outsourced. So if I were to direct my S to biomathematics, could we be assured that that field would still be hot 5 years from now--or even longer if he were to go on to graduate studies? This is the dilemma we, and I'm sure countless others, are facing. A college education is like the lead-time before a product can be brought out to market. We cannot be certain if the demand will still be there by the time it is ready to be unveiled (look at what oil prices are beginning to do to the sale of SUVs). The difference is that, whereas a car manufacturer can bring out a different model if one flops, our kids can only undergo so many redesigns!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:10 am: Edit

I think one only needs to look at current venture capital financing to know that this is an area of huge growth. Yes, many jobs in this arena will be outsourced too, but again, for the thinker, innovator, inventor this is a huge growth arena. I watched a documentary recently in which they interviewed Indian engineers who were doing jobs that were in the US a year ago. These very intellegent and well spoken young people were truly mystified that Americans were upset that they had these jobs. "What American would want my simple job," they asked. Americans want to move to the next level, it's the American dream, evolution." The point is that we need to heavily restructure K-12 education in addition to college education. Until then, the casualties will be many. The AEA, the key technology trade group and lobby has known this and been working with American schools, to minimal avail, for years.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

I will be beaten up for this but here goes. I have come to know and adore a handful of young people on these boards. They email me with their ever probing questions, do research and follow up and demonstrate incredible perseverance and dedication. They are all foreign born! My own American kids who are real achievers by their peer standards, are slackers compared to these kids. We've lost the hunger.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:25 am: Edit


This is where you and I look at things differently.

>>for the thinker, innovator, inventor this is a huge growth arena.>>

You are absolutely right. My problem is that I do not focus on the future Bill Gates or Steve Jobs and the like. I cannot even be sure that my very bright S would fit the description of innovator or inventor. I look at what is coming down the pike in 5-10 years for those who have little hope of being innovators and inventors and see only murk.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit

When will the squeeze of the middle class reach the rich?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit

Marite, I think the point is that we need to teach our kids to think as entrepreneurs. Easier said then done I'm aware, but not really. Studies show it's quite possible, but present day American education simply doesn't do this. Big Daddy corporation taking care of us has become the American way and that needs to change. In my house, where mom and dad both started and ran their own businesses, it's a familiar concept. Dinner table conversation often turned to good ideas for businesses to buy or start. I can't tell you the real contributions my kids have made. They are my first line--"do you guys think an XXX will fly?" And in all honesty, my oldest could not be described as very bright. But he is entreprenurial!

By Benndamann33 (Benndamann33) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:51 am: Edit

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this , i couldn't read all the posts, but Carnegie Mellon University is an awesome school for computer programming, not just in NE but nationally. I'd look into it, it's nice.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:58 am: Edit

In Silicon Valley the money is on the wealthy thrieving--the top people will not only be employeed but their ranks will grow. While the average engineer and programmer will be hard to find here, companies from all over the globe are expected to send key people here. To take part in the big ideas and their implementation. The venture capital industry, mostly highly educated/skilled senior people will remain strong, finance people such as investment bankers to take companies public and handle global mergers, The brightest innovative people in engineering, marketing, just plain everything will be the ones here.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:07 am: Edit

My guess is we will have a huge political shift in the next ten years and the wealthy are going to take it on the chin. It will probably start when people start losing their homes due to higher interest rates. Sam Zell has said wait five years, when those 5 year fixed mortgages come due. A ticking time bomb. Then I see tax rates skyrocketing on the wealthy. But yes, right now, the wealthy are doing great. People must love the bay area... the cost of living here doesn't seem to deter anybody.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:19 am: Edit

Actuallly, the price of living in the bay area is painful to most. People are here mostly for the exciting jobs, most could live much better elsewhere. If we have a democrat in office the wealthy will certainly pay higher taxes, but they are pretty much used to it and it won't change much. How much higher can they go? The top 5% (income) of Americans already pay 35% of taxes. And CA already has the highest State tax I think, close to it anyway.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:24 am: Edit

I think that people think the tax rate cuts that started under Kennedy, accelerated under Reagan, and continued under Bush are permanent. My opinion is that the pendulum can swing the other way. If we get the society that you think we are going to get, where the middle class keeps losing ground, do you really think the middle class will never respond? Remember, the middle class has the votes. They just have to find somebody that represents their interests. Maybe Obama?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:27 am: Edit

So will they vote to tax the wealthy 90% and end the economy as we know it? Canada and some other countries tried that but they all backed off.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:28 am: Edit

Only in a depression. However, 50%, why not?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:29 am: Edit

Don't forget, any country will welcome the American wealthy, their money and their businesses. As has happened in other countries when the environment becomes hostile, people pick up and move to more hospitable climes. In this global economy it's easier than ever.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:32 am: Edit

It's already 50%!!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:36 am: Edit

I don't believe it. And if we have trouble the world will be having trouble. It is possible that the wealthy will threaten to leave. If the middle class starts losing their homes, or the incomes keep dropping, they are eventually going to be so angry they may not act rationally. We will see. I don't like the trends I see. I see as you see, that the middle class will continue to be squeezed. I don't think the wealthy is going to escape unscathed if these trends continue. (50% federal income tax rate, I see easily happening).

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:53 am: Edit

There is already a backlash in the Valley as I've explained in other threads. Gun point robberies, home invasions, the usual things that happen in areas with great divides. And guess what, America is no longer the center of the universe. That's just the point. We need to play catch up. We stand a very great chance of not maintaining IT dominance. While we were sleeping countries like India and China decided to take our middle class jobs. The world can be increasingly fine with the US suffering. Don't get me wrong, no one will escaped unscathed, but the well educated and well placed will be fine. Look at what Kerry/Edwards are saying--it is the middle class that's in trouble. How old are you Dstark? This isn't pretty, but it's real and it's not going to change without a major overhaul in how we all think.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:58 am: Edit

I'm 48. The wealthy will be fine, but the days of lower and lower tax rates are numbered. Are there really home invasions and gun point robberies going on in Silicon Valley?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 02:16 am: Edit

How are we going to maintain out IT dominance if our kids don't go into IT?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 02:38 am: Edit

You're correct, but it's too late for this generation. In India and China, they produce over a million college grads a year, over half with math and science degrees. They are well educated and prepared to do the jobs many of our kids would have done. The retooling needs to start with major investments in K-12 education. As for Silicon Valley, no one has gone unscathed. The middle class are out of work in increasing numbers but they havn't lost money on their homes in general. High end homes have lost a lot of value, up to 50% in some cases. Yes, there have been gun point robberies in "safe" towns like Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Home invasions in wealthy towns too. Electric gates are going up in large numbers, it's becoming like countries that are accustomed to a huge divide between the haves and the have nots. The local newspaper printed stories and pictures of the homes of dot bomb CEOs that had walked away with millions leaving everyone out of work. People stopped showing wealth--empty expensive restaurants, no new cars, etc. People came out again this year but last night I got into a restaurant with no reservation that would have laughed at me 3 years ago. It was starting to get better nut NASDAQ is off again and pessimism is in the air again.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 02:56 am: Edit

Marin County home prices never exploded like Silicon Valley. I would say that home prices are up in all categories, but people are more leveraged and using interest only loans, 5 year fixed loans, not 30 year fixed loans to buy houses. There has also bee a ton of refinancing. I did see that San Jose is taking in about 10% less in property tax revenue than it used to get. As you can tell, I am not optimistic. No home invasions or gun point robberies here. However, communities like Belvedere, Tiburon, Ross, Mill Valley and Kentfield have a toatally different feel than many areas in the south bay. Way less affected by silicon valley...but still affected. Many wealthy people here, but nothing like Silicon Valley.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 03:09 am: Edit

I recently looked at houses in Tiburon and Belvedere and was shocked at what you could get for your money. Nice hillside homes with incredible views of the bay, the GG bridge and Mount Tam for less than a fixer upper on flat land here. I felt like a moron for not moving there years ago. Honestly, I don't want to live here anymore. We are not technology people and can live most anywhere. As my kids finish up here and I realize that the mood here is going to be ugly for some time, I keep my eyes open for the next base. Cover story in the Mercury News today is about why home prices havn't fallen in general yet. There are mixed opinions but I simply don't know how they can't. Many people are living on the equity in their homes. The same people who will never again get jobs paying what they made before. Very depressing.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 03:24 am: Edit

And as for taxes, Kerry is willing to roll back to a higher rate only for those making over $200K and Arnold is not willing to up Taxes. Doing anything more would really hurt the economy and they know it. The irony is that the people who feel it are those making close to $200K, the true wealthy won't notice the couple of percent. And as you know, in places like the Bay Area, $200K is hardly wealthy. Kerry wanting to increase minimum wage goes hand in hand with what to do about taxes, another dilemma in terms of what it would do to the economy. Many economists make a strong case that raising it would put so many small businesses out of business that the economy would severly suffer. There's no easy answer to helping the middle class recover at this point in history.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 04:33 am: Edit

People in Tiburon and Belvedere are shocked about the high prices for real estate here. Funny how people from Silicon Valley have a totally different perspective. Tiburon is a great place to live.
My opinion is it isn't going to matter who the politicans are...taxes are going up. There was an article in the WSJ a couple of months back saying pretty much the same thing.
You might be interested in this article from business week online. If the link doesn't work go to business week online and type "The Incredible Costs of Empire" in search. Worth reading.
Thanks for telling me about the Mercury real estate stories.
I agree, in the bay area, $200,000 is hardly wealthy. I also agree...there is no easy answer to helping the middle class. That is what worries me.

By Motobecaneman (Motobecaneman) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 08:19 pm: Edit

Wow, what a discussion. So my original question was: Does anyone have any knowledge about the Computer Science programs at Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh, SUNY Binghamton, Ithaca or Syracuse for my daughter? Or is the consensus to only attend the top ranked schools (Carnegie, Cornell, MIT..).

Northeastern is a maybe. BU only has a BA degree,I believe. RIT,RPI,WPI too male. Remember, 710M/550V. Is Carnegie & Cornell feasible?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 08:24 pm: Edit

Yeah, we got off track. Sorry. I hope you get the info you want.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 08:44 pm: Edit

What about Union College? University of Rochester? CMU and Cornell are probably huge reaches. Her 550V may not be sufficiently made up by her 710M. But she can try! As well, if she does not mind "too male" she would have a bit of an edge in RPI, WPI, etc... If she is not absolutely wedded to the NE, would she consider UIUC?

By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 09:30 pm: Edit

Some additional schools my son looked at for CS:
Brown: a stretch (actually a lottery), but has a great CS program, and better male/female ratio. Clarkson (in Potsdam, NY). He really liked this school, and especially a CS professor he met, but he decided it was too remote. Case (if not TOO far away from the NE).

Being female at a male-dominated school should be a benefit. There will probably be more merit scholarship money available for women, due to schools trying to better balance the male/female ratio.

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